5 Of The Best Digital DJ Applications Available At The Moment
Although there are DJs who still prefer to take the old school approach of just a couple of decks and a mixer, the best way to DJ in the 21st century is undoubtedly using a computer. Not only does using a computer mean you don’t have to carry around bulky music production equipment, it also gives you greater control over exactly what you are doing.
In the list below we look at 5 of the best DJ software applications for computer systems available at the moment. If you are a new DJ or simply looking to upgrade your system a little, this is the list for you.
Available for the PC, Mac and Linux systems, Mixxx is a open source and therefore, completely free piece of music production software. One of the biggest draws of Mixxx is you can use the main set-up as it is when you download it for no cost, but if you are adept with code you can also tinker with it to customize it more to your liking.
The standard set-up includes twin decks, with scrolling, scratch-able waveforms, 4 sample decks, hot cues, loops and iTunes integration. It supports a wide range of formats and there is a sync function and BPM detector. If you are new and have a limited budget, this could be worth a shot.
Originally Deckadance was owned by Image-Line (a FL Studio developer) until it was bought up by Gibson. The package is available for PC and Mac and features some of the best beat grid editing tools with a lot of customization and an intuitive interface. Along with the Smart Knob function, a macro-style controller that enables you to alter parameters of multiple effects at one time; it also offers 4 deck mixing and a 16 slot sample player. However, the biggest selling point of this software is you can host VST plug-ins. This means you can use all your favorite 3rd party instruments and effects with this music production equipment.
Serato were the pioneers of the digital vinyl DJ revolution over a decade ago and they have continued to improve, despite falling short of Native Instruments domination of the market. When they launched Serato DJ in 2013, this was the first product that merged both strands of previous software, bringing together the controller focused Itch and digital vinyl of Scratch Live.
Since then, they have continued to develop the software and being focused on just one product seems to have paid off with Serato DJ now being compatible with a variety of controllers through plug ‘n’ play and expansion packs that can add to it’s capabilities – as well as 2 and 4 deck mixing.
It is fair to say that Ableton Live is more of a piece of music production equipment than a solely DJ application. However, over the years since it was first released Live has become a favorite tool of DJs around the world.
This is largely thanks to the Session View. The clearly laid out and brilliantly executed window can be used for launching fully synced tracks, MIDI clips and audio samples. Along with Ableton’s user-friendly way of handling re-timing audio, that makes this a great piece of kit for combining live performance with DJing. In addition, there are a considerably large collection of built-in effects and instruments, plug-in hosting and a very intuitive MIDI learn function that makes Live one of the best pieces of music software on the market.
Native Instruments Traktor Pro
More than 10 years after it was first launched, Native Instruments’ Traktor Pro is without a doubt the crème de la crème of digital DJ software. Although many of its competitors do some things better, there is no application available that offers the all-round reliability and flexibility of Traktor Pro.
Traktor Pro has everything a digital DJ could want or need from the key and beat analysis algorithms, high quality effects and loop recorder to the Remix and Sample decks, Native Instruments have left nothing out. Additionally, Native Instruments’ own designed and developed hardware controllers, the S4, S2 and the nifty X1, F1 and Z1 are some of the best on the market. It is for all of the above and much more that Native Instruments continues to excel above the rest of the market.
Although Traktor Pro is by far the best piece of digital music production equipment on the market, all 5 pieces of software deserve a mention and while one might suit someone else, another may suit you better based on your specific needs, set-up and budget.
Simon over at MusicProTools.com is a self proclaimed expert in music production equipment and has been for a decade. His website is dedicated to giving you tips, reviews and any help you need on the most popular bits of kit and software, this guest post was written by Simon.